Stay my soul on Him

November 30, 2018

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18). For the last two months, I’ve been really trying to live up to this verse, easy in theory, tougher in reality.

  Relief from pressure may seem merciful, but support in the pressure produces growth and maturity.

There is a greater blessing for us than relief; there is the Father’s support, for it imparts to you an acquaintance with Himself which relief does not. Relief makes one more satisfied with things here. I have known some who could tell you of a long list of mercies, most touching, truly proof of the tenderness of God.

Thank God, we all know something of His tenderness. But then there is a greater blessing, namely, that He does not remove the pressure, but raises you above it, so that, though you are not relieved, you are better off than if you were merely relieved, because you know His heart who supports you in the pressure. You have made a deep acquaintance with your Father, and your heart is more attached to Him.

 It is not getting away from our circumstances, our environment, our associations, that we need, but the need for our Lord Jesus’ likeness where we are. The Father placed us there, permitted the trials for a purpose, and He stands ready to bring us out into a life of liberty, if we will stand with Him in trust and endurance while He works it out.”

Have you asked to be made like your Lord; that it might be ‘not I, but Christ’? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for patience and love? Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be a rich blessing in the ‘afterward.’

  “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

Steady on, stay the course, there are plenty of slogans of that ilk, but they pale to the bible verses God lays in our heart in the darkest hour of the soul.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard Perales, dad and son, great changes have come into their lives, pray the see the hand of God.

Pray for Karey P, that she sees the need for salvation and that Jesus is the only way.

Pray for Xonia, recovering from a hernia surgery. She’s doing better than anyone expected.

Pray for Steve L, dealing with his mom’s downward spiral.

Pray for all the families we know that have been touched by dementia.

the good and godly marriage

November 29, 2018

What are characteristics of a godly marriage? What should we be aiming for when we are looking for a wife or a husband for those who are single? Understanding what a godly marriage looks like is very important so we can prepare for it.

It is good to remember that when God made man in his image (Gen 1:27), he made a husband and wife yoked together as one flesh (2:24). This means that the marriage relationship is a model of God and specifically the Trinity. When a marriage does not function properly, it mars the image of God and it breaks down every aspect of society.

For this reason, from the very beginning of creation, the home has been under attack. Satan attacked the home by tempting Adam and Eve in the garden. He attacks the home because it destroys the image of God, and therefore, our societies become farther and farther away from God, as the family decays and erodes. The family is the foundation of society, so when the home falls, the church falls, and when the church falls, the nation falls.

It’s not enough to have just a good marriage, it must be good, and it must be godly.

After being married for 44 years and being a pastor and marriage counselor for 40 years, let me give you a few tips.

  1. Do everything together, no separate vacations, no separate bank accounts, no secret post office boxes or secret credit cards. Trust me, this can be the straw that breaks the camels back.

  2. Your spouse is your best friend, you enjoy each other’s company, you have great conversations, learn hobbies to do together

  3. Respect the differences.

  4. Keep your sex life sacred, holy, godly. No porn, no sex toys, no acting out fantasies, no kinks. You cross a sexual boundary and your marriage will begin to crumble.

  5. To the newlyweds, or yet to be wed. your past sex life is your past sex life. You don’t lie about your virginity or lack of, but don’t share sex stories of your past. You can be honest but not vivid.

  6. Pray together, read your bibles together. Men be the godly leaders that God intended you to be. You the man, you do family devotions, you don’t skip church because you played to hard on Saturday.

  7. Don’t run you family like a democracy, kids don’t get to vote.

  8. Eat dinner at the table all together, no tv on.

  9. Set a time when all electronics are in a box.

There are hundreds of more tips but start there.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Karey, that she would find the Lord and be led out of the JW’s

Pray for Ron P, upcoming heart surgery

Pray for Glenda and Stacey, they just lost their brother.

WHAT RINGS YOUR BELL?

November 28, 2018

growth marks

What rings your bell?

I used to do church growth seminars.

The one thing I tell pastors is don’t jump on the band wagon and do what mega church next door is doing.

Don’t imitate another pastor’s style, whether it be how he preaches or what he wears (really).

And just because the person in your church that gives the most money, that doesn’t give them any rights to dictate anything.

I had a pastor that came to me because the largest giver in church didn’t like the way he would preach a sermon. So he gave him tapes of his favorite preacher and told him to preach like that guy did.

I told him to either burn the tapes or ask the guy to leave. Good news the guy repented and became a follower not a bulldozer.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the most important part of church is the sermon, not the music leader, or singing off the wall. It’s the pastor’s prayer life.

If as a pastor, you are where you need to be in praying and bible study and faithful in your pastoral duties. It is God who determines what type of church you will have. Be satisfied with that.

I’ve conducted exit interviews for various churches and I will tell you one thing..

You can’t please everyone. So be yourself.

Second most important thing I can tell you as a pastor, don’t sacrifice your family for the church.

Well that’s my rant for today, been awhile so I feel entitled.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for your pastor, before you criticize.

John-Wayne-p15

I’ve mentioned this before but want to revisit the situation. This seems to be a frequent conversation with new folks coming to church. I always ask them where their from, how did they happen to visit us. And this is the gist of the conversation.

I can walk into any bar or tavern. And say; “I’m cheating on my wife, my taxes, my boss, I’ve shot the neighbor’s cat and I just found out my mistress is HIV positive.”

And someone will come over and by me a drink. Or someone will come over and say; “I know what you’re saying.”

But have any failure in a Christian environment and well they shoot horses don’t they.

Mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, brotherhood, fraternity, grace, support, join AA because you may not get it from church.

Doesn’t seem to happen. It’s seems the membership for church is perfect people getting saved and leading perfect lives. Don’t dare tell them your past, you’ll find yourself not asked for dinner after the Sunday service.

Yet Jesus live and visited with the worst of his day, sinners. He laughed with them, broke bread with them and invited them to know Him better.

How can we expect a body of believers to grow intimate with each other when we hide our past, keep secret our current struggles and shove out anyone that fails?

So by pretending to be perfect we become false. And the brother or sister in Christ is afraid to share their struggles and failures, because on Sunday morning everyone is lying and saying, “all is well” and “I’m just fine.”

We don’t have an actual church plan in place to help the brother or sister to restoration, just condemnation and forced out of fellowship.

There must be a balance in church, yes, the mature believers acknowledging the less mature and their failures. And the saint that falls, needs support not an exodus.

Let’s pray that we as believers are gentler, more forgiving, and willing to acknowledge we are forgiven but still fall short of perfection.

There may be a time for the rod, but we are to quick to use it.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Barbara D, her battle with cancer is taking a great toll.

Pray for Gwen that is struggling financially.

Pray for Lisa M, that she realizes people are more important than numbers

Pray for Karey, a Jehovah Witness member, she seems to realize that she is not a true believer in Christ, but is open to learning more.

I FORGIVE YOU

November 26, 2018

christ on cross

In relation to forgiving others, there are always two dimensions involved: the Godward or vertical element, and the manward or horizontal element.

In relation to God: All sin against others is first of all a sin against God because it is a transgression against the law of God to love one another. Therefore, when we sin against another human being, we must first confess the sin to God.

In relation to men: In the horizontal relationship, we have a dual set of obligations: those of the offended party (the one sinned against), and those of the offending party (the one sinning against another).

THE OFFENDING PARTY

THE OFFENDED PARTY

Vertical responsibility—Confess to God the sin against the other party

Responsibility—Forgive the offending party

Horizontal responsibility—Ask forgiveness and seek reconciliation with the person offended. This can include making restitution.

Responsibility—If necessary for unity, healing, restoration, etc., go to the offending party to seek reconciliation and restoration.

The offended party, as a forgiven person in Christ, has a two-fold obligation. First, he or she is to show the same unqualified forgiveness they received from Christ. This is the point of the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:23-35. Second, if the offending party does nothing, then in obedience to Scripture and for the purpose of unity, restoration, and healing, the one offended should go to the offending party to correct the problem even if it means rebuke (Luke 17:3-4). If the offending party does not repent, then the offended party may need to follow the procedures of Matthew 18. This, however, never means the right to harbor resentment or anger.

If God by His grace and mercy has forgiven us such an enormous debt, one we could never pay because of our own sinfulness, how much more shouldn’t we forgive others the debts or sins against us as mere fellow-servants regardless of how much we have been hurt. What we suffer cannot compare to what Christ suffered for us. But forgiving others is never to be viewed as a work by which we seek forgiveness for our own sins because our debt is too great for any of us to pay by what we do.

On the part of the offending party the obligation is also twofold: First, to deal with the wrong done by repentance or confession before God. This reestablishes the vertical relationship. Then go to the offended party and correct the problem by asking their forgiveness and by doing the right thing as called for by the circumstances. Compare the following passages on forgiveness: (Cf. also 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-4; and 1 Peter 3:7.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Matthew 5:23-26 “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 “Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Principles to keep in mind:

  • Failure to forgive demonstrates our unwillingness to treat others on the same basis of grace that God has treated us. We must be willing to extend forgiveness as freely to others as God has freely extended it to us (Matt. 18:21-35; Eph 4:32).

  • Failure to forgive others stems from our failure to turn the matter over to the Lord and trust in His sovereign purposes and control. The Lord who rested totally in the Father’s love and plan is our perfect example in this (1 Pet. 2:21-25).

  • Failure to forgive others keeps the Lord from forgiving us, not because our act of unforgiveness becomes the basis for our own forgiveness, but because unforgiveness, like any known sin, stands as a barrier to fellowship. The basis for our forgiveness is always the cross and Christ’s presence before the Father as our advocate (1 John 1:9-2:2). It is important for us to understand, however, that failure to forgive others is not only sin, but a sin which is a contradiction to the heart of the gospel message (cf. Matt. 5:23-24; 1 Pet. 3:7; Ps. 66:18).

  • Failure of people to forgive one another results in a sick church—one without the power and blessing of God on it’s ministry and life.

Forgiveness is paramount in order to keep bitterness at root in your heart.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Olivia in your prayers, that she carries to full term and her health is ok, pray that the medication she takes will not have any side effects.

Pray for Richard Perales, to find the Lord.

Pray for Paul K, help him to deal with his mom’s declining health.

the weaving of a prayer

November 25, 2018

(HANG IN THERE WE ARE ALMOST DONE)

Luke 11:2-4 And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be You name. Your kingdom come. 3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread. 4 ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

We have observed something of the prayer life of our Lord which undoubtedly was a large part of the motivation behind the request of the unnamed disciple in verse one, “Lord, teach us to pray.” For our Lord, prayer was the most natural and necessary aspect of His existence. In answer to this request of Luke 11:1, our Lord gave what is popularly known as the Lord’s Prayer. In reality, it was the disciples’ prayer and provides us with a model or pattern for biblical and effective prayer.

This is an excellent passage in teaching new believers about prayer because it covers a number of categories which are important to prayer.

Two things this prayer is not:

(1) It is not and was never intended to be a ritual prayer to be formally and liturgically recited. It was a model designed by our Lord to show the nature of prayer and what prayer should consist of by way of content. There is nothing wrong, of course, with reading or reciting it together as we would any passage of Scripture for a certain focus or emphasis or as a reminder of truth. I am convinced, however, it was never meant to be simply recited as a prayer to God in place of personal prayer poured out to God from the heart. Compare the translation of the Living Bible: Luke 11:1b reads, “Lord, teach us a prayer to recite just as John taught one of his disciples.” In a footnote to this verse the translator has added the word, “Implied.” But is it really implied, or is this translation a product of religious tradition that does not have its roots in what this passage was intended to teach?

(2) It was certainly never intended to be used as an amulet or special words to protect someone when in danger. Perhaps you have seen films where people were in some kind of danger and they prayed the Lord’s Prayer in this fashion.

The prayer divides into two sections marked out by the pronouns, “your,” and “us.”

  • The “your” section points us to God and concerns our relationship with Him regarding His person, character, being, purposes, and activity on earth.

  • The “us” section deals with our needs as they are related to God and His activity and purposes in our lives here on earth.

This is no accident. First, we start with God and then we go to ourselves. Here is an important principle in all worship of which prayer is but one mode and means. In prayer, as in everything, our Lord teaches us to put God first. Why? Because this puts everything in the right perspective, it gives us the right viewpoint about life, one that sees beyond our own very limited scope. This is important so that we might genuinely focus our hearts and minds on the who and what of God, that we might seek first the rule and righteousness of God, and that we might walk with Him in obedience and under His enablement, direction, and protection.

As a tear magnifies sorrow and as laughter magnifies joy, so prayer (a form of worship wherein we count on the worth of God) must first magnify the Lord if our prayers are to have the proper result in our lives—confidence, faith, and direction into the will of God.

Prayer is a means of entering into the joy and confidence of God’s love, provision, direction, and presence. It is a way to focus on the Who and What of God—God’s person, plan, principles, promises, and purposes. This kind of praying glorifies the Lord and demonstrates our desire for relationship with God, along with obedience. It is comforting to our hearts because it brings God into our vision along with His purposes.

This first emphasis by our Lord exposes what is often a fatal weakness in our own prayers. We tend to begin with “us” rather than with “Your.” We rush into God’s presence pleading for “our” petitions, “our” needs, “our” problems and, as a result, we become problem oriented and frantic rather than God oriented and relaxed in His sovereignty (cf. Ps. 46:10, “Be still [cease striving] and know that I am God”).

We need to focus on the Lord first to get the perspective of Jeremiah 32:27. Concerning the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises to Israel and to keep the Prophet’s eyes on the Lord, we find this word to the Prophet: “the Word of the LORD came to Jeremiah saying, ‘Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is anything to difficult for Me?’” (Jer. 32:27).

We need the praise and focus of God in Psalm 100 before the petitions of Psalm 102.

WHEN WE PRAY: THE TIME ELEMENT (V. 2A)

When you pray say.”

It is significant, I believe, that no commands are given as to time or how often. Why? Because prayer is more than a mere religious routine we go through as it is in some religions in which worshippers recite certain words and bow in a certain direction specified times of the day. Scheduled prayer is certainly scriptural and a godly pattern to have as with Daniel (Dan. 6:10), and David (Ps. 55:16-21), but, as with both David and Daniel, it should always be the response of a heart which desires communion with God and depends on Him in the same way man naturally takes in oxygen through the process of breathing. This is seen in the cry of the psalmist, “As the deer pants (heavy breathing) for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O God” (Ps. 42.1)

Two things about this cry of the psalmist: First, his entreaty expresses our need. We need the Lord and we need to drink from His fountain of life through the Word and prayer—our means of hearing Him and responding to Him. But second, his entreaty also expresses what should be a recognized reality in each of us. As the psalmist, we should long to communicate with our God. Prayer is to be an expression of our longing for intimacy with God and to enter into His strength and will.

WHY WE PRAY: THE NATURE OF PRAYER (V. 2A)

“When you pray say.”

“Pray” is the Greek word proseucomai from pros, stressing direction, closeness, and eucomai, “to ask, request.” The basic meaning of this word (along with its uses) looks at prayer as an avenue of drawing near to God in worship and dependence because we see Him as the all-sufficient one and ourselves as insufficient. Prayer becomes one of the means by which we draw near to the Lord and His sufficiency and submit to Him.

“Say” is the Greek word, “legw.” It gives prominence to the thought processes in choosing the words spoken because of their meaning. Originally, it meant “to pick and choose” and this is precisely what we generally do in speech unless we are talking gibberish. Legw reminds us of our need to carefully choose our words as opposed to praying as mere religious rote without careful thought. It should remind us of the conversational nature of our prayer or communication with God.

“Say” is what we call in Greek grammar, a present iterative imperative. As an iterative present it describes an event which is, as a command, to occur repeatedly, over and over again. The idea is when you pray, consistently pray in the following manner or example, but not repetitiously by rote, reciting these words as a mere repeated ritual, the problem Jesus addressed earlier in Matthew 6:7.

Reasons why it does not refer to a prayer to be merely recited.

(1) Matthew 6:5-7 is a specific warning against praying in a repetitious manner and the warning there is followed by this teaching which gives us a model for prayer. To view this as a prayer to be repetitiously repeated would be in conflict with the previous command.

(2) The parallel passage of Matthew 6:9 adds the words, “in this way.” This is the Greek $outwswhich could very will be rendered, “in this manner” or “after this manner.” In other words, what follows is to be taken as a model for prayer, not as a prayer to be memorized and merely recited.

(3) In the epistles of the New Testament, this prayer is never repeated though its pattern or principles are basically followed in one way or another.

(4) This understanding fits with the warning of Isaiah 29:13 which the Lord quoted against the religious externalism of the Israelites of His day.

Prayer is the thoughtful exercise of the heart and the mind through which we seek to draw near to God in worship and dependence on Him because of who He is as our sovereign God and support.

the behavior of prayer

November 24, 2018

The secret garden part ?

(1) Prayer should demonstrate a total consciousness of our need, a sense of our complete inadequacy along with a sense of God’s complete adequacy and willingness.

2 Corinthians 2:16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

(2) Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s ever present willingness.

(3) Prayer is not for emergency use only, when we get in a pinch and need someone to bail us out.

(4) Prayer is not an “Aladdin’s Lamp” or a trip to the wishing well for our wants.

(5) By contrast, prayer is a means of intimate communion, fellowship, and dependence upon God the Father who has promised to work in and through us through His Son, just as God worked through Him.

(6) Prayer is for everyday living, moment by moment.

(7) Prayer is a means of claiming God’s promises and knowing and becoming abandoned to God’s will.

In John 14:10-14, note the relationship to prayer mentioned in verses 13-14 and the works we, as disciples, are to do in verse 12.

John 14:10-14 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

There is no activity in the life of a believer which does not require a prayerful attitude—a prayerful dependence on and an expectation that God is at work and will work according to His purposes and leading. In ourselves we can do nothing. Christianity is living by faith in the Creator God who dwells in us, and prayer is God’s means for us to draw upon Christ’s miraculous life. Christianity is as Paul expressed it in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.” Faith for a committed believer is expressed in intimate, prayerful living.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Raylene M, shoulder surgery today.

Pray for Macy G, she is a world traveler and has contracted something and the doctors don’t know how to treat it.

Pray Gwen, finances

Pray for Hector R, retired police officer and both him and his wife are about to go crazy.

THE PATTERN OF PRAYER

November 23, 2018

Prayer for our Lord proceeded out of a basic attitude of deep dependence that resulted in a very intimate fellowship that He always had with the Father because, from the standpoint of His humanity, He was totally convinced He could do nothing of own resources. It is this that undoubtedly brought deep conviction and longing in the lives of the disciples. They came to recognize that, while they could be believers in the Lord, they could not be true disciples who became like their teacher (Luke 6:40) unless they learned to pray to the Father like the Lord Jesus in the intimacy and dependency that He constantly demonstrated.

This incorporates one of the basic principles that governed the life of the Savior. In John 5:19 Christ said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” Then, in John 8:28-29 and 14:10 He repeated the principle. The principle should be obvious for us. For Jesus Christ, prayer was a way of life, an absolute necessity: it was a means of communion with the Father and the means of bringing the power of God the Father to bear on the humanity of Jesus Christ moment by moment. We see this in Matthew 12:18 and 28.

Note that for the most part, it appears the Lord performed His works and spoke His words by the power of God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit whom the Father had given Him. Though God of very God Himself, Jesus generally did not perform His works independently of the Father nor the Spirit’s leading (Acts 2:22). It was the Father working through Jesus, the man.

As we study the life of Christ in the gospels, we note a consistent pattern:

(1) In the midst of a busy schedule, when men were clamoring in their need for His attention, Christ retired to pray and to draw upon the resources of God the Father for He knew that “the Son can do nothing of Himself” (Mark 1:32-37).

(2) When it was time to choose the disciples we don’t find Christ reviewing the qualifications of each of the disciples. Rather we find Him retiring to pray. This is clear in Mark 3:13 and Luke 6:12-13. Why? Because “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” He needed the direction and provision of the Father.

(3) When Jesus stood at the tomb of Lazarus He raised His eyes heavenward in dependence and thanksgiving for what the Father was about to do (John 11:40-42). The actual prayer of Christ is not given, only the fact of His dependence, thanksgiving, and confidence that His prayer had been heard. The words of verses 41 and 42 imply, however, that not only did He pray to the Father, but that He wanted all those standing around to know it as well that they might learn the secret of dependence. This teaches us that when performing miracles, though not always heard by men, Jesus the man was praying in dependence upon the Father from the standpoint of His humanity.

(4) When He fed the five thousand. The words “and looking up toward heaven” demonstrate the Lord’s prayerful dependence (Mark 6:41). Also, “He blessed the food” which shows He thanked God the Father for it and for what He, the Father, was about to do through Jesus, the man, a God-dependent, God-approved man.

Think of Jesus Christ. He was the Son of God, God incarnate, the perfect man and the absolute Creator God who also as the God-man adequately and continuously fulfilled every expectation of God for man. He was the constant delight and joy of the Father’s heart. He always pleased the Father. Now, thinking of Him as such, ask yourself this question. How much did He personally, as man, contribute to His mighty works, deeds, and ministry? NOTHING! Christ Himself gives us the answer, “. . . the father abiding in me does His works” (John 14:10). And how did that come about? Through prayerful dependence on the Father!

When we work, we work. When we pray, the Father works. So out of this conscious and constant sense of need, there arose a continuing attitude of prayer: a continual expectation in the Lord Jesus that if anything was to be done, the Father must do it both by way of initiative, and wisdom, and power. Now if this was true of Jesus Christ, how much more shouldn’t this also be true for us? Indeed, prayer according to the pattern of the Lord Jesus is to be a vital goal of true disciples.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Grace, help restore to fellowship a brother or sister that has slipped or made a mistake, it’s not only God who forgives.

the secret garden

November 22, 2018

praying mom

It has been rightly said, “the secret of all failure is our failure in secret prayer.” Not just our failure to pray, but our failure in prayer. In the story of the Pharisee and the publican the Pharisee is one who prayed long and often, but he was a miserable failure. His prayers were never heard by God because neither he nor his prayers were ever right with God.

I think it was Oswald Smith who said, “when we work, we work, when we pray, God works.” Throughout history, the men and women that God has used mightily have been people who knew how to pray and for whom prayer was both a priority and a necessity. As we study the gospels and the training of the disciples by the Lord, we find that prayer is to be a vital part of a disciple’s life. For a couple of illustrations compare the following verses:

John 14:12-13 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. 13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.

An electronic concordance quickly shows the importance of prayer in the Word of God. Variations of the word “pray” such as “prayer” and “praying,” etc., occur 331 times in the NASB, 545 in the KJV, and 375 times in the NIV. The difference in numbers is caused by the fact some Greek and Hebrew words are translated differently in the different translations. For instance, the KJV might use the word “pray” while the NASB or NIV might use “ask.”

Most Bible believing Christians recognize and accept, at least intellectually, the need and importance of prayer. We read books on prayer, we talk about it, we ask for prayer from time to time, but somehow, the church today is anything but a praying church. We may have a few real prayer warriors, but the VISION AND DISCIPLINE of biblical praying as committed disciples of the Lord Jesus has somehow escaped the body of Christ. We talk of its necessity, but too often we fail to accomplish its reality.

I’ve found in my own life that my prayer life was based on my situation. Good situation, not much prayer; bad situation, lots of prayer.

It wasn’t until I started working with Oral Roberts, that my prayer life really began to be consistent and practiced. He never did anything without praying about it. We never went anywhere without praying about it. And when we choose a city for an Evangelism Tour. The hours of praying and days of fasting were rooted in everything we did.

It was Oral’s insistence that we read E.M.Bounds books on prayer that really shaped my prayer life. Then the works of Tozer and Vance Havner cemented the necessity and discipline of daily pray.

Next came the lesson of praying the Scriptures. Which made daily bible reading mandatory.

If this sound like hard work, it is. But then you discover the power of secret prayer, the time in your prayer closet. (a term almost never used anymore). The set times of prayer, the spontaneous moments of prayer.

And then the hardest lesson. Learning to be silent, to listen. If you prayed 20 minutes you listened 20 minutes. Nothing was harder to do. Then came the books of Thomas Merton, and the lesson of listening. Finding time to go away somewhere, where everyone was silent, listening. It started with weekend retreats and then a week and finally a month.

Maybe it’s my age, but I find more enjoyment now then ever before in bible reading and praying. Maybe I’m less compulsive. The need to collect things stopped.

I don’t want to discourage anyone but it took many years to get to this spot.

Like they say, “every journey begins with the first step.”

So don’t be discouraged with the gaps, the starting and stopping. It eventually comes together.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Well tomorrow is Thanksgiving, praise God for all that he has given us.

STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND

November 21, 2018

  “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

The Holy Spirit directs in the countless details of our daily life. Those who have faith, and are dependent upon His direction, will not be disappointed. But the Spirit leads according to Scriptural directions; so that which is called the leading of the Spirit, and which has not the truth of the Word behind it, is necessarily false.

The principle of walking in dependence upon the Holy Spirit must never be abandoned, however we may fail to carry it out. We must live by divinely given principles, even if winds and waves at times do throw us off course. To give up the Father’s principles because of opposing elements is to court shipwreck.

 Being led by the Holy Spirit is the principle by which the Father deals in grace with believers. Outside the circle of the Spirit, men are led by the flesh; under the law His people were in bondage and under the schoolmaster. Now, in Christian privilege, the Spirit leads: ‘if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law’ (Gal. 5:18).

 The Lord Jesus in glory is the standard of perfection, and the picture that Christ gave us on earth is the pattern for our walk here on earth. No one’s walk is perfect, but the Spirit of Christ who dwells in us is perfect, and as the believer learns to yield to the Holy Spirit as one alive from the dead (resurrected in Christ), the desires of the flesh are not fulfilled, and we find it easier to stay grounded in the Word and in the Spirit, and then the Spirit brings God’s fruit into our lives.

  “Walk in (dependence upon) the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

Pray for Becky C, severe migraines

Pray for Ben S, early onset of dementia.

Pray for Olivia, living on a naval base, miraculously pregnant, and her husband a submariner, oh his first time out. Lots of prayer for this couple

Pray for Markus, a young man with autism and is living out his life grander than any one expected.